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Why becoming a single-income household was the best thing for my family

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Eleven years ago my husband decided to chart a new path, and it had a positive impact on my career.

My husband made the brave choice to stay at home with our son. I call his decision brave because while 48% of working dads would like to join my husband as a stay-at-home father, few actually do. I live in Colorado, where we have a population of 5.6 million, and yet only 26,879 are stay-at-home dads.

Why so few? My intention here is not to analyze this question. Rather, it’s to explain how the second shift of housework and caregiving has fundamental economic undertones that impact everyone.

The abridged answer to why we see so few stay-at-home dads boils down to identity and isolation.

Our collective definition of what it means “to be a man” says that “good fathers” go to work to provide for their families’ financial security. Veer from this definition and fathers put their identity at risk. They also face isolation. Eleven years ago when my husband would take our son to Gymboree or music class, he was often the only man in a room of stay-at-home moms and female nannies. He didn’t have peers to talk with about the loneliness of charting a new path. None of his friends understood the struggle of putting a career on hold for family. But he did it anyway because it was the right thing for us–now a family of four–to do.

My husband did something else honorable, too. He reduced the second shift for me. Over time, he took on more tasks at home so I could focus on the best economic return for our family, which was building my career.

While I earned an executive MBA alongside maintaining my role as an executive at a Fortune 500 company, he understood that my time away was for the greater good of our family. Five years ago while I was leading a global team, I needed to visit five countries in the span of a month. It meant I was gone for over a week, home for about a week, and then gone again for over another week. At the time my children were 2 and 6. There was........

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